Panopto: Interview with Ryan Jennings

Friday, October 29th, 2010 0 comments

ryan-jenningsPanopto was designed to enable presenters and lecturers to easily share their presentations with remote viewers. Panopto offers a full solution, from recording and editing to viewing and managing, all in a cloud-based system that is designed to be simple enough to run with no technical experience.

We interviewed Ryan Jennings, Commercial Director at Panopto, to understand more about the thinking behind the software:

So Ryan, what’s your background, and what’s your role at Panopto?

I joined Panopto earlier this year to help with the European strategy, and to help bring Panopto to the UK and EU corporate marketplaces. We really wanted to demonstrate what we’ve already done within the US in legal, healthcare and telecommunications industries, and to find ways of transporting these methods into the European market space. I’ve always had a telecommunications based background, in learning and development and e-learning software.

How was Panopto created?

Panopto was formed in 2007, after a technology borne out of Carnegie Mellon, US.

Eric Burns came up with some great technology that enabled academics to capture lectures, in order to share professors’ content across campus. The thinking behind Panopto was that it should be very easy to use, so that no one needed to be technically capable.

The roll out across the university went well, and from there Panopto was developed into a company. Panopto has been running for nearly 4 years now, and works with 300 companies across the US. We’ve worked with some really big corporations, including Microsoft and Yahoo.

What prompted the creation of Panopto?

Panopto was really designed to help university lecturers transport lectures to students who couldn’t attend, or to professors on different campuses. The idea was to go beyond sharing notes, to importing everything the professor was doing – gestures and all – to another campus.

Eric also wanted a solution for the difficulty of sorting through presentation content. We’re in the age of too much information: it’s great to have it all, but simply finding it is half the battle. Some products focus on the capture side of things, and then you end up with a big mess of rich media – with no way to find the content. Even platforms such as YouTube don’t allow you to search within the content. So Panopto developed a partnership with a transcription company that enables in-content transcription, so that we can extract all Meta data from PowerPoint, and from the rich media coming in.

What are you particularly proud of concerning the software?

I think one of the best things about working with Panopto is that you don’t have to design the whole system at the beginning. Very rarely will organisations know adoption rates in advance, so they often end up over or under-subscribing. Panopto access can be adjusted as needed, as everything is all hosted in the cloud – so clients don’t have to worry about ensuring they have enough space to store all the media.

Is there anything else on the cards?

More than anything, we’re learning from our clients. Everyone has a different way of using Panopto – from lawyers collecting affidavits to Product Managers announcing product launches. We’re really working towards exporting this knowledge to all our clients, so that we can demonstrate best practices across each sector.

For more information about Panopto, read our review.

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